A few Fridays ago I nominated DUCK IN THE FRIDGE by Jeff Mack (Published by Two Lions on September 2, 2014) as a perfect picture book (see the review HERE). Mr. Mack has written and illustrated numerous picture and chapter books (see more at JeffMack.com ), some of which I have reviewed on my site. I am quite a fan of Mr. Mack’s work. Today I am happy to have him as a guest on my blog! Read on to enjoy learning more about Mr. Mack’s writing and illustrating process!
Erik – When I saw the title of your book – Duck in the Fridge, I knew I had to have the book! How did you come up with such an awesome title?
Mr. Mack – I took the title from a line in the book. When I started writing this story seven years ago, the first sentence I thought of was “I don’t know how the duck got in the fridge, but he made a huge mess.” To me, this sounded like a great way to start a story, a real attention grabber that made me wonder what would happen next. The trouble was, it took me a long time to figure out what happened next. After many revised drafts, I added the parts about the father at the beginning and at the end. And I moved that first sentence about the duck in the fridge closer to the middle. But the title stayed exactly the same.
Erik – You are right about it being an attention grabber! Why a duck and not a squirrel or a bunny?
Mr. Mack – Well, if you think about it in a certain way, it’s not so rare to keep a duck in the fridge. Or at least duck leftovers. I like that it sounds as if I’m talking about two different things: either a roast duck or a quacking duck. If I called it “Turkey in the Fridge” or “Tuna Fish in the Fridge”, the joke might be too obvious. But if it was a bunny or a squirrel in the fridge, at least on one level, it would be too creepy.
Erik – Well I for one am glad it was a quacking duck in the fridge not a roasted one! As an author/illustrator, what’s your favorite part – writing or illustrating or do you enjoy both?
Mr. Mack – My favorite part is telling a story. With picture books, I think the writing and illustrating are difficult to separate. Drawing pictures in a sequence is one way to write. Each picture represents a whole bunch of words. And the sequence creates the plot. Then the actual words provide extra info that adds meaning to those pictures. The two parts, writing and illustrating, work together to tell the complete story. So, basically, I like both.
Erik – Mr. Mack sent along some sketches from his book DUCK IN THE FRIDGE. It’s cool to see how the sketches get turned into the illustrations in the book and how they change from the original idea.
Erik – Did your dad tell you wacky stories like this (I know mine does 😉 )?
Mr. Mack – Yes, all the time. He still does. I’ve heard them all a million times, but he keeps telling them. And they never get old. Well, almost never.
Erik – Ha ha! I know what you mean about “almost never.” What is your favorite fairytale of all?
Mr. Mack – I was always partial to Rumplestiltskin. I love the idea of a character who makes something valuable (gold) out of something worthless (straw). Isn’t that what every artist does? Spin precious metals out of horse food?
Erik – Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
Mr. Mack – Sure, I have a new picture book coming out in April called “Look!”. It’s about a gorilla who competes against a television for a little boy’s attention. It’s also about a battle between low-technology vs. high-technology, books vs. screens. So I used both low and high-tech methods to illustrate it: watercolor and digital collage. It’s a fun and interesting story, and there are only two words in the entire book. One of them is “Look.” Can you guess what the other one is?
Erik – That’s a GREAT premise for a story! I will definitely be on the LOOK OUT for this one! Thank you for joining me today on This Kid Reviews Books Mr. Mack!
To learn more, please visit Jeff Mack’s website by clicking HERE!